Tag Archives: Nolan Smith

Folks will finally get to see Kyrie Irving play against UNC on November 17th

Breaking News – Duke vs UNC Alumni Game officially scheduled

Folks will finally get to see Kyrie Irving play against UNC on November 17th

Blue Devil Nation has learned that the first annual Kings of Tobacco Road game which pits Duke and UNC alumni against one another will take place on November 17th at 8:30 PM.  The game will be played at McDougald Gym on the campus of North Carolina Central University right after the Eagles women play.

The game will feature Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, Corey Maggette, Chris Duhon, Elton Brand and Gerald Henderson while the UNC roster features former teammates Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Brendan Haywood, Antawn Jameson, Vince Carter, Raymond Felton and Donald and Shammond Williams.

BDN has learned that the rosters are still liquid and there may well be additions to the game.  JJ Redick has been mentioned on the Duke side.  ACC legend Phil Ford will coach the North Carolina team and talks and the grup hopes to contac Jay Willams to play or coach for the Duke team.

The North Carolina Central Women play at 6:00 but the doors will open and part of the proceeds will go to the team.  With Central packing it out for the N.C. Pro Am, BDN suggests you get there up to two hours before the start of the women’s game to secure a seat.  If you purchase a game to the women’s game, then you will get one of the best seats in the house.  We’ll have more etailed information on the ticket situation on Tuesday.   In short, this place will be packed out with people being turned away outside, just as they were on certain evenings this past summer for the N.C. Pro Am.

The event is a joint effort between the Jerry Stackhouse N.C. Pro Am group and Bleid Sports.  The two are also putting on Clash in Cameron on December 17th and games will be at NCCU as well.  Stay tuned to BDN for breaking news on both events and we are a proud sponsor of the efforts these two fine groups are associated with.

We should have some roster updates in the coming days and much more so bookmark our site for timely information on the event.

Nate The Great

Nate Britt Adidas Photo

6’1″ rising junior Nate Britt, who was profiled earlier in the year, had a productive AAU and camp season. From an individual standpoint, the zenith was his performance at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, where he finished second in camp scoring and was named one of five Workout Warriors. With his D.C. Assault brethren, the baby-faced leader competed in tournaments from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas, where D.C. Assault and Duke alumnus Nolan Smith of the Portland Trail Blazers helped coach DCA, with a high-point of reaching the finals of the King James Shooting Stars Classic in Akron, Ohio.

This weekend, the Gonzaga guard helped his USA 2013 Red team to a second place finish at the Adidas Nations in Compton, California. Yesterday, the reigning D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year was invited to participate in the Elite 24 in Venice Beach, California at the end of the month. Nate Britt spoke with Blue Devil Nation about various topics, including Nolan Smith, Twitter, and how far along he is in his recruitment.

Starting back a bit with the camps, specifically the NBA 100 one, what was that experience like, first of all?
Oh, it was great experience because they had, like, all the best of the best players. It was an awesome feeling just going against those guys. All of those guys are very talented and they keep you on your toes. It was just a great experience.

Then, transitioning back to D.C. Assault in July, what was that like for you?
Fun. We’ve played together for years and, you know, get to play in big-time tournaments in front of the college coaches. We have a really good time playing together.

[private]
In terms of your recruitment, what’s been going on lately?
The hardest three on me are Villanova, Virginia, and Georgetown. Those three have offered and Arizona. Did I say Arizona?
Yeah.
Those and I’ve gotten interest from Duke, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, UCLA, UConn, Syracuse..those are the only ones I can think of right now. My head’s kinda spinning (laughs).

Are there one or two schools that you grew up rooting for?
Georgetown. That’s the hometown school. I always rooted for Georgetown.

In terms of the schools that were expressing interest like North Carolina or Duke, what have they said to you?
I feel like I’ve spoken to so many programs and coaches that I’m not exactly sure what the message is, but my phone’s been blowing up really since whatever that date was, like, the fifteenth or whatever. I know that I’ve spoken with schools like North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Duke. I’ve been in touch with all of them and I like speaking with them and learning what they have to say.

Are schools still able to get into your recruitment?
Oh, yes, but I’m trying to slow it down.

Will you be cutting it, your list, down soon or do you have any plans in that direction?
Oh, yes, I’m going to try to sit down and cut it down to a more manageable number or whatever after all of this ends..probably some time in late August, you know.

Do you plan, at this point, on taking official visits in your senior year or do you plan on deciding next year?
I’m going to try to decide next year.
Just for clarification, you mean before your senior year?
Yes, before my senior year.

Nate Britt BDN/Andrew Slater Photo

Going back for a second to that NBA 100 camp, how do you account for your success at that event? You had that thirty point outburst that, sort of, put some people on notice. Also, how would you assess the state of your game right now? In the past, you mentioned that you wanted to work on your outside shot and adding some strength.
Yeah, I’ve improved my three-point shot to where I feel comfortable just pulling up and shooting it when it’s in rhythm. I feel like I’m mentally comfortable with making a few a game.

And what about the strength issue? You mentioned that you wanted to be able to play through contact.
Yeah, well, that’s something that I still need to work on and improve, but, with all of these games, you don’t really get a chance. I’m hoping that I can spend August and September just getting stronger and hitting the weights.

Back to that thirty point game and your overall performance, what are your thoughts on why and how you played?
Yeah, I think it was just getting mentally in a place where I could perform. My coach there just kept telling me to score or take it to the rack and I was just feeling it. For whatever reason, it just clicked there.

When you were younger, outside of Georgetown, were there any other programs that you rooted for?
I rooted for Villanova, for a little bit, when I was younger. When they had Allen Ray and Randy Foye and those guys, I was really interested in them and rooting for them.

Is there any sentiment about trying to stay closer to home or you really don’t care?
Well, I would like to stay closer to home because I know that my parents would like to see me play, but whatever is the best situation for me.

Do you have any visits planned?
No, not as of right now, but I’m pretty sure that some will come up.

Who’s the best player that you’ve faced or guarded this summer?
Um, I’d probably have to say Yogi…Yogi Ferrell. I faced him at both NBA Top 100 and also Adidas Nations.

In terms of a timeline in your recruitment, if this were a baseball game, what inning would you say that we’re in?
Probably the seventh..the seventh inning.

I’ve noticed on your Twitter account that you’ve talked a lot in the past about your lack of sleep or difficulty with sleep.
Oh, yeah, (laughs) it’s hard with all of the games I’ve been playing and the travel and time zones. You’ve got workouts and early morning workouts. It’s just kind of hard on the body or, at least, mine.
6:30 workouts in the morning.
(laughs) Yeah, you know, 6:30 in the morning workouts. It’s killing me. (laughs)

How about defensively? How would you assess your defense at this point? I think you’ve stepped up your defense from the past.
Yeah, I’ve been feeling better about my defense lately. I think I’ve given better and really gotten in there. I’ve tried to focus on it a bit so that, if my offense goes in a particular game, at least I’ve got my defense. It’s something that I can rely on.

Before you were talking about playing in front of the coaches, how do you think they have an effect on your play?
Oh, at first, I had butterflies, but I’ve tried to just have fun with it. I try to just get used to it. You know that your playing in front of the greatest coaches and that kind of inspires you. You know that you have to perform and then it’s also great to have that opportunity and also playing in front of fans is fun too.

Who are some of your Assault teammates that have also stepped up their games this year?
I think Kris (Jenkins) has. He’s battled back from injury and been able to help us after sitting out earlier in the year.
And you couldn’t be tighter with him (Jenkins lives with the Britts) so you know the pain that he must’ve been in to sit out?
Yeah, absolutely, we’re very close and he felt terribly about missing so many games with that badly sprained ankle. He was worried about it too. I feel like we really jelled well together as a team.

I just want to clarify an earlier answer. You mentioned about how those three schools stood out. Were you implying that it was too late, in essence, for other schools to get involved or just that those three happened to stand out right now?
Oh, no, no. Yeah, it’s not too late. It’s just that those three schools happened to be recruiting a little harder than the others at this point.

Has there been any really new school to step in?
Well, Maryland offered and North Carolina stepped up their interest.

Well, that must’ve made you feel good.
Oh, yeah, it did.

What was it like, by the way, when Nolan Smith joined the Assault coaching staff?
(laughs) Oh, yeah, that was great because you know that’s a guy that accomplished so much and he’s got a really good basketball mind. He doesn’t get crazy out there. He just helps you focus.

Did he help at all with the strategy?
Oh, yeah, he helped. He pointed out things and, you know, who for us to make switches on. It was great to have him out there with us, you know. I think we all appreciated it and certainly I did. It was great.

He mentioned that he was going to say something to the team.
Oh, yeah, he talked to all of us. He mentioned how it wasn’t long ago that he was in our seats. He talked about hard he worked and has to work to continue to make it. He encouraged all of us to get out there and work. It was inspirational.

Nate Britt BDN/Andrew Slater Photo

It’s amazing that he was in your spot or grade just five years ago.
Yeah, it is . It just goes so fast. It helps keep him in touch. He just kept saying how hard he worked and to stay focused and stuff like that. He always, like, had his eye on the prize and encouraged us to do that to.

Before you were talking about how you guys play so many games, do you feel that momentum carries over from one tournament to the next.
Yeah, I think it does, when we play events really close to one another. When you win or lose a lot in one tournament, I do think it carries over…it can help bring confidence to a team or sometimes drag it down.

Is there any player nationally that you wanted to get a chance to play or take on this summer and you didn’t get a chance to at one of the various events?
That’s tough. Not really…I think I’ve played just about everybody at this point. (laughs).

In terms of position, is anyone recruiting you as a combo guard at this point or is everybody now looking at you as a straight one?
Really, just a one now. Just a straight one.

How are you trying to use Twitter? Growing your audience. Is it a way to get your voice out there?
Oh, yeah, I’m just trying to get people to know me a little bit and, like you said, grow my audience or voice.

Lastly, you’ve traveled all around through basketball. What’s been your favorite tournament that you’ve played in so far?
I would probably have to say Vegas. It’s either Vegas or Indiana. Those are my two favorites because they just feel bigger and there’s more excitement in the air for whatever reason. Kids are pumped up to play in front of the coaches, I guess. The games feel more important.

Thanks again, Nate. Good luck to you.
Yeah, yeah, sure. You’re welcome. [/private]

Coach Cutcliffe has senior Donovan Varner and the Blue Devils expecting to win in 2011-GoDuke, Duke Photography

T.G.I. Football Friday

Happy Friday, Blue Devil Nation! A nice, shortened week should make you feel good but if not, Football Friday is here to satisfy your weekly football craving. As you know, there’s never an offseason here at BDN, and Mark Watson and Andrew Slater have been burning the midnight oil all week with great basketball coverage. Be sure to check it out, and invite your friends to join our growing community of Duke fans. If you tell two people, and they tell two people, well, then that’s some kind of crazy math that I don’t remember how to do. Before my brain stops working, we better get going…

Blue Devils feeling the love

Coach Cutcliffe has senior Donovan Varner and the Blue Devils expecting to win in 2011-GoDuke, Duke Photography

Four Duke players were named to preseason Award Watch Lists this week, while a few others may have been overlooked. Coming off a three win season, it’s only natural that Duke might have a few players fly under the radar on the national level, but that should all change this fall, as the Blue Devils pursue bowl eligibility. In any case, it’s a nice honor for the Duke players who were recognized this week, and we congratulate them, but look forward to an even better 2011.

Cooper Helfet – John Mackey Award Watch List

Will Snyderwine – Lou Groza Award Watch List

Donovan Varner – Biletnikoff Award Watch List

Conner Vernon – Biletnikoff Award Watch List

The Dondo Files

Part of our job here at BDN is to help give fans an inside look at the Duke players and coaches. Sometimes, however, the players and coaches do the job for us. This week, Duke’s star senior WR Donovan Varner created the first entry in his self-produced video blog, The Dondo Files. Varner is poised for a big senior year, and we hope his video blog will be a good inside look into his season, and the Blue Devils’ first bowl game in over a decade.

Sir Nolan Smith models a Middle Child shirt

Middle Child

Another interesting venture by two Blue Devils is Middle Child, a clothing line created by Johnny Williams and marketed by Matt Daniels. For those who missed Johnny’s cartoon series for GoDuke last year, take a look at his clothing designs, which show off the Duke cornerback’s impressive artistic ability. And if ndotsmitty is wearing it, you know it’s hot!

Doing work in the classroom

While we’re applauding the Blue Devils’ off the field efforts, it’s important to point out that last year’s team had a cumulative GPA of 3.1, which included 13 ACC All-Academic selections, more than twice any other school. As we’ve said before, it’s great to see that as Duke builds the program on the field, they continue to uphold the university’s strong academic reputation. The Duke players are setting themselves up for a great future and truly embody the concept of the student-athlete.

Come on, come on…

Kickoff on September 3 is just 57 days away, with training camp opening in just a few short weeks, so be sure to get your season tickets now. With spring practice having wrapped up in March, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the Blue Devils on the field in Wallace Wade Stadium. For the Duke Football faithful, we share your pain, and hope that these last few weeks fly by. We’ve kicked off our opponent preview series this week to help speed things up for you. Be sure to check out the Richmond preview, and check back on Sunday for our Stanford preview. In the meantime, if anyone happens to see me camped outside of Wallace Wade like Eric Cartman waiting for the Nintendo Wii, can you bring me a sandwich?

Duke and Richmond will kickoff the 2011 under the lights in Wallace Wade Stadium on September 3

Please make sure you have all your belongings…

…as you exit Football Friday. While we love to share with the whole class, we also like to reward our Premium Members. We have the latest recruiting information for Duke’s class of 2012, and well, you’ll just have to join to find out…[private]

A slow recruiting week!

We’re all for the fast-paced summer recruiting season, but it is nice to be able to catch your breath every once in awhile. While it’s impossible to predict things in recruiting, it seems like things may slow down a little bit as we head into training camp. Duke has 13 commitments in the class of 2012, with an absolute maximum of 18 scholarships available. The coaching staff would like to add 4 more players to this class, and will hold a spot for a potential program-changer, should he decide to be a Blue Devil late in the recruiting season. Here are the staff’s remaining targets.:

Running backs

Jela Duncan 5’10” 190 pounds, Charlotte, NC

Todd Gurley 6’1” 195 pounds, Tarboro, NC

Linebackers

Marcus Allen 6’2” 210 pounds, Hilliard, FL

Keilin Rayner 6’3” 220 pounds, Leland, NC

Wide Receivers

Drae Bowles 6’1” 198 pounds, Jackson, TN

Anthony Nash 6’5” 185 pounds, West Chester, PA

Defensive linemen

Torey Agee 6’3” 250 pounds, Opelika, AL

Woody Baron 6’3” 252 pounds, Brentwood, TN

Korren Kirven 6’4” 272 pounds, Lynchburg, VA

David Reader 6’2” 340 pounds, Greensboro, NC

Nigel Williams 6’3” 260 pounds, Richmond, VA

Courtnye Wynn 6’6” 240 pounds, Norfolk, VA

A couple notes on this group: Todd Gurley has been in France, running track for Team USA, which has led him to miss “The Opening” in Oregon this week. Korren Kirven is the only member of this group that is in Oregon, and while Duke has made a good impression, the reality is that he may be a long-shot for the Blue Devils. Woody Baron, as we reported awhile ago, appears to be down to Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt, but if Duke could get a visit, you never know.

Do you like surprises? Well, I actually am not a big fan, so I’ll just give you the update. Once the dust settles on the LBJ and Adidas coverage, we’ll have new interviews with Marcus Allen, Keilin Rayner, Anthony Nash, and David Reader. We’ll be getting in touch with the other remaining targets, too, but we have to pace ourselves!

Thanks for being a member and a loyal Football Friday patron. We hope you enjoy our coverage and always would love to hear more from you on the message boards.

[/private]

WE ARE DUKE.

 

BDN Monday Musings – Happy Independence Day!

Plumlee from NC Pro Am, Rick Crank for BDN

Firstly, Happy Independence Day Blue Devil Nation!  We’ve taken it easy around here this holiday weekend in order to recharge our batteries for what will be a busy month.  BDN has a long track record of covering all of the major recruiting events to bring you our always dependable coverage which has set the standard for all who cover the Blue Devils. The basketball coaches are allowed on the road in July and they’ll be putting in a lot of  miles in the air while narrowing down who they’ll continue to recruit.

The North Carolina Pro Am is underway as well with the action getting going again this Thursday.  BDN was in attendance for the opening session which featured Nolan Smith rocking his newly fitted Portland Blazers shorts.  The only active Duke player there was Mason Plumlee, who dropped 24 points, almost all on dunks helping his team shake off a 5 point half time deficit to win by 18.  There may or may not be a lot of players there this week, but you can bet that the following week will be quite interesting.  BDN has a long history of NC Pro Am coverage, so bookmark us now.

There has been a bevy of new Duke Football verbals of late where Coach David Cutcliffe and his staff are filling their needs at breakneck pace.  Be sure to check out our football recruiting coverage which is making waves of late.  Duke kicks off their season in 61 days against Richmond.  BDN will cover pre season practices in August, so stay tuned for weekly reports from camp.  Coach Cutcliffe also announced some changes to football staff this past week.

 

At the end of the month, I head to the ACC Football Kickoff event in Pinehurst, North Carolina.  There, I will predict the conference standings and first two All ACC teams.  I’m already settled in with most of my predictions but there are some key battles for a couple of All ACC spots.  Speaking of key battles, I am really looking forward to the Oklahoma at Florida State game on September the 17th for a Nole upset would be a huge boost for the conference.  The Noles are my clear pick for first in the Atlantic Division.

After an untimely and serious eye injury, former Duke standout Jon Scheyer is joining Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.  This team is of course a big time European League power where Scheyer will get plenty of exposure, much like former Blue Devil Trajan Langdon who recently retired from CSKA Moscow who made the All Decade Team. 

In the “In case you missed it,” department, check out this article former Duke great, Dick Groat.  I remember his jersey hanging in Cameron Indoor Stadium when it was still called Duke Indoor Stadium back in the day.  Is this where I enter my “Everything was better back in the day,” schtick?  Seriously, Groat was a phenomenal baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates and a hoops legend in the fifties while at Duke.  I always thought to myself, “Man that jersey looks small,” but a look at Groats accomplishments makes me realize that it must have been an optical illusion.

One thing for certain is that players need to be careful in certain settings these days.  Social Media has opened up a venue for their thoughts to be read by all.  The problem is that some fans or say twitter followers, indeed have their own agenda and some are just plain whack.  Kyrie Irving is the latest victim in that he has quite the stalker who seems more than just a little intent on causing the top draft pick some trouble.  Check out this link where Adam Zangoria offers his two cents and be careful what you think is factual.  Again, social media has created a forum which flat out obsessed people can attempt to harass you and yes, even I have been a victim of this.

It’s Back! More of BDN’s Monday Musings on Duke Athletics

BDN Photographer Rick Crank caught wonderful moment after Duke defeated UNC for the ACC Championship. BDN Photo

After a brief hiatus Monday Musings is back and we have plenty of stuff to talk about.  The reason the article went MIA was due to an overload of Blue Devil Nation Premium articles which simply dominated the site last week.  One thing BDN followers can depend on is the flat out best recruiting circuit coverage available. 

The NBA Draft is still fresh in many fans minds and the Blue Devils added three more players to the league.  Kyrie Irving became the second Blue Devil to be the first overall pick, joining Elton Brand as the two Blue Devils holding that honor.  Irving looked rather suave as he hit the podium fulfilling his dream.  While some Duke fans feel a void in that they saw him play just eleven games in the royal blue, there are benefits to his quick departure.  Irving will represent Duke well and he’s already had good things to say about Coach K and the program.  Having an alum in the spotlight will only bring more talk of the program and rising prospects really like seeing the hot rookies which stay fresh in their minds.  Duke adds Austin Rivers this year and trend is developing of great guards coming through Durham on a yearly basis.  Here is Irving and Tristan Thompson being introduced to Cleveland Cavalier fans.

How cool was it to hear, “And with the 21st overall pick in the NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select Nolan Smith of Duke?”  Maybe Kyle can give Nolan some tips as he rolls to home state to Oregon with a guaranteed contract in tow.  Smith worked hard at Duke and had both up’s and downs but he stuck it out and he is now in the NBA.  FWIW, I jumped out of my chair and cheered as if it were a Duke buzzer beater when his name was called.  Here is the latest article on NDotSmitty.

Then there was Kyle Singler chosen #33 by the Detroit Pistons.  Singler barely missed the first round but he fell into a good situation with the Pistons in that he was still their first selection and he will get a sure contract.  The Detroit brass pointed to his leadership, work ethic and skills when they spoke of their prized rookie.  I will sure miss all three of these guys but the memories from each have been great, especially Nolan and Kyle who brought a National Championship to Durham.  Here is a link on the Pistons desire for character and that led them to draft KSing. 

It seems like a few months ago when I was covering Duke players at the N.C. Pro Am at North Carolina Central University.  Maybe it’s the fact I am getting older or it could just be that coverage never ends at BDN.  Regardless, BDN will be front and center with coverage for the event which starts this week.  BDN was the first site to cover this event and therefore we’ve developed good relationships with those involved.  It’s a first rate event worth your summer time and a friendly atmosphere awaits.  Stop by and say hello for I will once again be in the end zone with my own private desk;)  A key change to note — no high school players are allowed to participate per NCAA rules this season.  That means no Pinson, Purvis and such.  One other tidbit is that Duke players rarely show the first session, so look for them next week.  And yes, Duke will have players participate but their time will be cut short due to the China-Dubai trip which happens in August.  As we’ve said before, Duke is allotted ten full practices before the journey.

USA!  A few key Duke Basketball recruiting prospects  were missing during last weeks NBA Top 100 Camp and for good reason.  Targets Jabari Parker and Theo Pinson were in the red, white and blue leading Team USA to Gold.  Parker averaged 15.4 ppg and  grabbed 6.4 rebounds a contest.  Pinson was the fourth   scorer at 11.5 ppg and added an amazing 6.2 rebounds from the wing.  Team USA finished 5-0 defeating Argentina 104-64.  Here are the TEAM USA U16 Stats.

The player nicknamed "The Black Falcon," flew on both sides of the fence until his most awkward Skype announcement. We'll let you fill in the caption on this pic. BDN Photo

Stash this in the remember where you heard it department.  Harrison Barnes will be the ACC Pre season POY and maybe even the national one as well.  A look at returning scorers in the conference shows that he is the top returning one in the league.  And look for the Blue Devils Seth Curry to make first team while Mason Plumlee will be on the second team.  UNC and Duke will be picked one, two in the league.  Yes, Duke fans, Barnes pictured left would have been in the top 8 picks had he gone pro, so his return guarantees that he will be one of the most hated Heels ever.

Measurements are coming in from the Nike Skills Academies and we found out that the measurements for the brothers Plumlee. Mason Plumlee measured 6’10,” 234 with  6’11” wingspan, while Miles Plumlee measured 6’11.5,” 247 with a 7′ wingspan.  For full prospect measurements, check out the BDN Premium Message Board.

Recruiting information has been red hot of late and BDN has an incredible amount of material for you to catch up on by becoming a member.  We’ll be heading to the Peach Jam in July but there is much more before then.  We’ll keep you in a bit of suspense on that.  Look for a lengthy interview with Tony Parker today, so get off the fence and join the most dedicated Duke site in the world!  Be sure to go to our premium section located just under the header and take a look at what you’re missing. Recent interviews include, Robert Carter, Davonta Pollard, Rodney Purvis, Troy Williams, Joel James and Nate Britt.  BDN Premium brings you print and video interviews and if you haven’t heard the name Andrew Slater yet then you are not paying attention to our incredibly well informed basketball recruiting analyst and his one of a kind interviews.

BDN Photo

Duke Football Recruiting has been on a roll of late and you can find all the latest verbals by simply going to our football section.  Our resident recruiting analyst, Patrick Cacchio has been on a roll of late and BDN has become the place to be for Duke Football coverage.  We need more members on our football message board to discuss all the breaking news, so join up and help us make our forum the very best.  We are currently seeking a football board moderator, so send me a note through our popular twitter site if you are interested.   Anyhow, Coach Cutlciffe and staff are on a roll and they are beating some big schools for the latest commitments.  One other note, do not miss  our BDN Football Friday column which is the best weekly football article on the web.  If you find a better column on Cut’s team, let us know and we’ll work harder.

Speaking of Duke and ACC Football, I have been writing a preview of the conference for another site.  Everybody points to the Duke offense being able to move the ball  due to more vets on that side of the ball.  A closer look will tell you that Duke starts just two seniors and that nine of these kids will be back again the following year.  I picked Florida State and Virginia Tech as division winners and the main reason is that both have a manageable schedule.  The Blue Devils have the 22nd toughest schedule in the nation according to Phil Steele.  By writing a preview, I have a jump on fellow media members in picking the All ACC first and second teams at the fast approaching ACC Operation Football gathering.

Lastly, our prayers go out to the friends and family of two high school football players that were shot in Durham.